Adobe Photoshop still holds its place as the primary tool of most web designers these days, but there is another contender on the market that– I daresay– does the job better.
Have you ever found yourself coming up with Photoshop tricks or shortcuts to achieve fairly simple ends (resizing boxes with rounded corners, for example)? Ever used layer comps to simulate pages functionality? Used smart objects to simulate instances? Used the marquee tool and the Info panel to make sprites? Had to pass files between Photoshop and Illustrator to get those vector elements just the way you want them? Moved between several softwares for the wireframing, prototyping, and mockup phases?
Adobe Fireworks may actually be the tool you need. It handles bitmap and vector graphics and is tailored specifically for the web designer. It incorporates just the right mix of tools and features from InDesign (for layouting), Flash (simple animations and use of instances), Photoshop (raster graphics), Illustrator (vector graphics), and its own mix of support for designing for web (Pages, optimization, hotspots, and more).
There are numerous articles online detailing why Fireworks is a superior tool for web design, so I won’t rehash all the reasons. The purpose of this post is to provide you with a jumping-off point for Fireworks. More and more FW resources are accumulating on the web as designers dabble with this software and find themselves converts.
Here are 50 Reasons not to use Photoshop for web design, or 50 reasons to use Fireworks instead.
And here are some good reasons not to be intimidated by learning yet another new software:
- Fireworks incorporates tools you may already know quite well if you are versed in Flash, Photoshop, and Illustrator, and often presents them in a more user-friendly manner
- The Fireworks workflow is set up to be streamlined and blazing fast
- Fireworks is intuitive, making its learning curve far from daunting
- Fireworks highlights the tools that are useful and doesn’t get bogged down overloading on functionality that doesn’t specifically pertain to web design needs
- It’s cheap! Compared to comparable Adobe softwares
- webdesign tuts+ Fireworks
- Beginner Fireworks Tutorials
- Lynda (subscription service, but if you have a subscription, there are many excellent, indepth video tutorials available)
- Rapid Fire
- tutorials | Blue2x
- Fireworks guru Tutorials and Resources
- qrayg.com – Learn Fireworks
- 40+ Striking Adobe Fireworks Tutorials
Resources and Downloads
- Craig Erskine
- CSS Sprite Maker
- Aaron Beall
- Fireworks Zone
- Noupe – An Explosion of Adobe Fireworks Resources
- Fireworks Guru Forum
- Fireworks Lab
Fireworks is a specialized and extremely powerful tool for web designers that incorporates fast, intuitive methods of creation and output for people who make websites. It is important to remember that although FW can generate sliced images, rapid prototypes, and even sprites, it is not a substitute for the hand-coding of HTML/CSS that needs to follow a client-approved mockup.